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What is the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act?

Election 2018 Battle For Congress
Posted at 1:59 PM, Feb 03, 2023

In the wake of Tyre Nichols’ death, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act has been brought back into the spotlight.

“We demand that Congress pass the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act. Joe Biden will sign it,” said United States Vice President Kamala Harris at Nichols’ funeral.

What does the act entail?

It was introduced in 2021 by Congressional Democrats as a police reform bill. The bill focused on excessive force, racial bias, and police misconduct. The act's language would apply to both federal agencies as well as state and local.

Some of the points of the bill include establishing a federal registry of police misconduct complaints, requiring federally-funded state and local law enforcement agencies to adopt anti-discrimination policies, requiring federal officers to wear body cameras and restricting the use of qualified immunity.

Qualified immunity currently protects officers from individual liability unless the officer violated a clearly established constitutional right. The doctrine was created by the Supreme Court in 1967 in a case called Pierson v. Ray.

The act also outlined a way to use federal grants to help establish task forces to study police reform.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act did not pass in 2021. No Republicans supported the legislation.

Instead, President Biden, who supports the bill, signed an executive order in May 2022. It offered some of the points from the bill, including banning the use of chokeholds for federal law enforcement officers, and creating a national law enforcement accountability database. However, these only apply to federal agencies.

A recent poll by ABC News and the Washington Post found that just 39 percent of people polled were confident that police are trained to avoid excessive force.